Skip to content Skip to main navigation


The voice of business in Canberra

No-signature credit cards

By Deref - 24 March 2012 42

Paying for petrol this morning, I stuck my card in the reader and entered my PIN – “incorrect PIN” came the message, so I tried again and, again, got the same message.

“Just tap it, buddy” said the attendant (risking a stern finger-wagging for the use of that appalling American appellation). Mistaking my chagrin at his “buddy” for confusion, he took my card, tapped it on the top of the reader, and the transaction was confirmed.

I know about these “tap to pay” cards and, understanding what an incredible security risk they are, refused to have one. But obviously my ordinary card already has the embedded proximity chip. So here was a clear indication that I might be using a dodgy card, but neither the attendant nor the machine gave a flying feck.

Who thought <i>that</i> was a good idea? Can I disable this idiocy or am I stuck with it?

What’s Your opinion?

Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
42 Responses to
No-signature credit cards
Skidd Marx 3:19 pm 24 Mar 12

The bigger issue here is the attendant calling you “buddy”. I hope you beat him to within an inch of his life.

WillowJim 2:28 pm 24 Mar 12

Were you really that upset that he called you buddy?

Sandman 2:22 pm 24 Mar 12

I’m with the OP on this. I got a nasty shock the first time i put my eftpos card in a machine and it just approved it. I didn’t ask my bank for a Debit Mastercard either. I found it in a pile of mail that I had put down while walking through the garage and then rediscovered over 9 months later.

All cards now stay at home and I carry cash. Wouldn’t take long to empty my bank account with $30 transactions if I lost my card, and don’t the banks only cover the fraud occurring AFTER you’ve reported it stolen or lost?

c_c 1:57 pm 24 Mar 12

Firstly, what security risk? Obviously been reading to many of the click-bait articles out there predicting a doomsday of credit card fraud.

Secondly, the same tap to pay functionality is now available in a sense even if you don’t have a RFID enabled card. Woolworths, Maccas and so on are all now authorisation traditionally swipe/inset transactions without a pin or signature if they’re below a certain amount.

trevar 1:16 pm 24 Mar 12

Welcome to twenty-first century Australia. Both the word buddy and proximity cards have arrived, albeit very late!

The word ‘buddy’, BTW, is a derivation of the British slang term ‘butty’, which is now as archaic as the word ‘appellation’. It was used until the 19th century in British English to describe a workmate or companion. In American and Australian English, the letter T when found in the middle of a word is usually quite homophonous with the letter D, so ‘buddy’ makes as much sense as an Australianisation of ‘butty’ as it does as an Americanisation of it, but either way, it’s origin is British, not American. I, for one, welcome the use of the word ‘buddy’ in the Australian language.

And at any rate, either paypass or PIN are a heck of a lot safer than a mere signature that no shop attendant was ever trained to assess, and few of them even looked at!

HenryBG 12:56 pm 24 Mar 12

Yes, you can ring the credit card company at any time and ask them to disable the card.

arescarti42 12:49 pm 24 Mar 12

If you have a Mastercard or Visa issued with a chip that was issued during the last 2 or 3 years, chances are pretty good that it is contactless payment enabled. You don’t really get a choice as to whether you get it, although I do know that some institutions are still issuing cards without chips (and as such without contactless payment ability).

ScienceRules said :

But seriously, why do you imagine that this is a security risk?

In addition to others being able to use your card without your signature or pin, devices to read and copy the information stored on your card’s chip are inexpensive, and work over considerable range. There is the potential for anyone standing within a metre or so of you to be wirelessly going through the information stored on the cards in your pocket.

What I don’t really understand is why you’d care if someone else managed to use your card. So long as you abide by their terms and conditions, most banks will bear the losses associated with any fraud committed with your accounts.

Watson 12:30 pm 24 Mar 12

PayPass. Can only be used for amounts under $100.

potatosalad 12:20 pm 24 Mar 12

They don’t accidentally put chips in people’s cards. But it can be disabled. Here’s how:

1. Cut your card up in to tiny pieces.
2. Enjoy your level of account security!

I’m not sure if you have ever noticed but the only thing required to use your current card without a pin is a signature that is written right there on the back of the card, and very rarely checked properly, and if your card is old and the signature is rubbed off, they will usually just put through the sale anyway.

As for the chip itself, it’s still easier to skim your card or just steal it than it currently is to perform a complicated attack by relaying your RFID or the like. People are concerned the technology to do that may become commonplace eventually, but right now you’re all ok on that front.

If you are still scared of having a chip in your card, tell your bank, ask if they can supply a non-NFC card, and if they can’t, it might be up to you to change banks.

buzz819 12:02 pm 24 Mar 12

Your stuck with it, but if it is over a certain amount you still have to put in a PIN, I think my last one was $80 and I had to put a PIN in.

It’s like mobile phones, hybrid cars and reality TV, this s*** will continue, just move with it.

ScienceRules 11:58 am 24 Mar 12

We also have indoor plumbing and clean water now, Deref. What an amazing new world, eh?

But seriously, why do you imagine that this is a security risk? With credit cards being used more and more for transactions we used to pass cash around for, this is a welcome convenience. It can only be used on low value transactions and only works if you do actually touch the prox reader so what is your problem?

Devil_n_Disquiz 11:51 am 24 Mar 12

I’ll stand corrected but aren’t these paypass cards signature free only up to a certain amount ??

I know its still a hassle but rest easy knowing that if someone does come into possession of your card they won’t be able to walk into a car show room and ‘tap & pay’, then drive out with a brand new *insert car of your choice*

I have a visa one. Seems the limit may be $35

p1 11:50 am 24 Mar 12

Might be a market for lead lined wallets in the future.

Shinigami_Josh 11:49 am 24 Mar 12

its also limited to transactions under $100 (or thereabouts). I also think they have further fraud prevention measures.

johnboy 11:27 am 24 Mar 12

it’s the future, you don’t get a say in whether it comes or not.

1 2 3

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. | |

Search across the site